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Flood victims warned over "cowboy" builders

People whose homes have been damaged by this week's flooding in England and Wales have been warned to be on their guard against cowboy builders.Unscrupulous individuals will be seeking to exploit vulnerable householders who have fallen victim to the bad weather, the Trading Standards Institute (TSI) has stressed.Sarah Smith, the TSI's leading officer on scams, said the consumer watchdog had "lots of evidence" that "dodgy" traders had tried to exploit opportunities presented by previous natural disasters, including the Birmingham hurricane, to secure work."Unfortunately we know from previous incidents that conmen and disreputable companies will see the chance for making easy money from desperate families," said Ms Smith."Doorstep sellers will also seek to exploit the urgency of the situation facing victims," she added.Ahead of further heavy rain forecast for this weekend, the TSI is urging householders without home insurance to contact emergency assistance services provided by their local authority if their properties are damaged.Trading standard officers say that even those with insurance should obtain a minimum of three quotes and agree the details of any work needed in writing with contractors in order to avoid falling victim to rogue trades people.Meanwhile Nationwide has revealed that it has already received over 500 calls from its home insurance customers and expects to be contacted by more policyholders in the aftermath of the flooding.The company recommends that all holders of insurance should check their policies to ensure that they have adequate cover, even if their homes have not been hit by the bad weather.

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